The BIG Chill: 'GMA' Takes the Plunge in Finland

After visiting the home of the world's tallest skyscraper, the globe's biggest city, the largest rainforest and the biggest castle, what's a fitting end to "Good Morning America's" BIG series?


Try the residence of the biggest ice hotel, and a place where massive ice-breaking ships are deployed to keep frozen harbors open so imports and exports can flow. Finland offers more than just frozen tundra.

Click here to learn about life from the Finns.

Breaking the Ice

VIDEO: Diane Sawyer explores Finlands enormous snow castle.Play

Each year the tourists flock to the tiny city of Kemi to visit the Sampo. The world's biggest icebreaker was built in 1960, and the ship was retired from service 21 years ago.

The Sampo is the only ship in Europe on which visitors can experience the thrill of crashing through ice as thick as 50 feet in the coldest winters thanks to tourists cruises on the ship.

From November until the ice breaks up in April, travelers come from around the globe to get a look at the Sampo.

But Finland's ice-breaking ships aren't just a tourist attraction; the nation has a fleet of eight for their critical function.

Ice-breaking ships work in two ways: One is to crush the ice by the pure weight of the ship and the other is to pound the frozen water by moving the enormous vessels back and forth to slam into the blocks of ice like a battering ram.

VIDEO: Learning About Life From the FinnsPlay

Taking the Plunge

If the sea is so cold that thick layers of ice form atop it, imagine how frigid the water beneath must be. That shivering thought didn't stop "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer from taking a plunge into the Baltic Sea.

Click here to see Diane's frigid dip.

Armed with a special suit that allows visitors to bob in the icy water while keeping them safe from the chill, Diane dived into the sea, which registered at a glacial one degree.

Technology Leader

Nokias CEOPlay

The classroom science successes may explain, in part, why Finland's economy is driven by technology. The country, which is big on electronics and telecommunication companies, is home to Nokia.

"We are at our strongest when we are between the rock and a hard place," said Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila. "Historically, Finland was one of the first countries to adopt technology. So, if you look at electricity one year after its invention, Finland has electric power and light. One year after the invention, we had telephones in the 1880s. We always adopt technologies early and are very savvy with technology."

Ollila is a success story of Finland's education system, turning what was once a rubber boot company into the world' s biggest cell phone maker, Nokia.

"I think the key thing with the education is that we do have a very successful schooling system," he said. "Primary schools, and then going to our second and third, but particularly the early years, the first eight to nine years is very well organized."

Click here for more from Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila.

Shipping Out

Another eye-popping sight is the construction of the largest cruise ship in the world.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas will arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl from Finland this November and Good Morning America will be there with the first look, both inside and out, at the "BIGGEST" cruise ship in the world.

Spanning 16 decks and registered at 220,000 tons, Oasis will carry 5,400 passengers and have seven distinct neighborhoods .

It will have a rock climbing wall, ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulators , a zip line suspended 9 decks high and an aqua theater.

For more information on Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, visit